Popular Australian soap Neighbours is facing an independent review after two former cast members revealed allegations of racism on social media.
Actress Shareena Clanton posted a statement on Instagram this week alleging she had suffered ‘multiple racist traumas’ during her time working on the soap opera, which she described as ‘highly problematic’.
Fellow actor Meyne Wyatt, also a series regular on the soap between the years of 2014 and 2016, went on to share a thread of tweets detailing how he had also endured racism on set.
Producer of the show Fremantle Media has now said there will be an independent review and that it does not tolerate discrimination.
Chris Oliver-Taylor, chief executive of Fremantle Asia Pacific, said in a statement: “Fremantle is committed to providing an environment where employees and others in the workplace are treated fairly and with respect, and are free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimization and bullying.
“We do not tolerate behavior that does not align to our anti-discrimination, equal employment opportunity, harassment and bullying policy and take all complaints very seriously, investigating all allegations fairly and thoroughly.
“We have asked Campfire X, creative leaders in indigenous cultural protocols, to conduct an independent review of Neighbors and the production process.”
Wyatt, who played Nate Kinski across two years, claimed he was the first indigenous actor to feature as a regular cast member.
“Do better, be better,” he said in his tweets, addressed to the production companies and networks he had worked with. “You can always do better. The work is not finished. Even when you think you have, just know you haven’t. Because you haven’t.”
Wyatt and Clanton, who are both Australian and of indigenous descent, also claimed that they had been subject to sexism and homophobia while working on set.
The show, set in Ramsay Street in the fictional suburb of Erinsborough, is broadcast to a global audience and has helped launch the careers of A-list Hollywood stars including Russell Crowe, Margot Robbie and Kylie Minogue.
“Struggling to post anything positive about the months I endured on @neighbours after multiple racist traumas and navigating ongoing counselling from this highly problematic show. It’s been lonely, triggering and traumatizing to work in such a culturally unsafe space,” Clanton posted on Instagram.
It was also revealed this week that police responded to security alerts at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Southern California home nine times over a period of nine months.
Official figures, obtained via Freedom of Information laws, revealed that the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has dealt with calls recorded as phone requests, alarm activations and property crimes relating to Harry and Meghan’s Montecito mansion that they moved into with one-year-old son Archie in July last year.
The data was released after the couple spoke of their security concerns in their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.
Representatives for Harry and Meghan and a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office declined to provide further details about the calls.
During the interview Harry said: “I was born into this position. I inherited the risk. So it was a shock to me (that my security detail had been cancelled).”
Explaining his decision to leave Canada for the US during the early days of the pandemic, Harry said: “The biggest concern was while we were in Canada, in someone else’s house, I then got told, short notice, that security was going to be removed. By this point, courtesy of the Daily Mail, the world knew our exact location.
“So suddenly it dawned on me – ‘Hang on a second, the borders could be closed, we’re going to have our security removed, who knows how long lockdown is going to be, the world knows where we are, it’s not safe, it’s not secure, we probably need to get out of here’.”
This week has also seen Jane McDonald announce the passing of her long-term finance, musician Eddie Rothe, following a battle with cancer. The news was confirmed ‘with immense sadness’ on the singer and TV presenter’s social media shortly after his funeral.
Rothe died on Friday 26 March and had been “battling lung cancer for the last few months” of his life.
“It is with immense sadness that we share the news that Jane’s beloved long-term partner, Ed, passed away on Friday 26th March. He had been battling lung cancer for the last few months. We would like to thank everyone for all their help and support during this very difficult time, especially the NHS staff and the wonderful team at The Wakefield Hospice. The funeral took place earlier today and we would please ask for your kindness in observing Jane’s privacy for her and Ed’s family at this sad time,” McDonald’s post read.
Among the tributes to Rothe on social media was a statement from British television show Loose Women, saying: “Our deepest condolences go to our friend and former Loose Woman Jane McDonald whose life partner Ed Rothe has passed away.
“Ed was a part of our Loose Women family for many years and appeared on our show on numerous occasions. We’re sending love to Jane and her and Ed’s family.”